NEW JERSEY DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
NEW JERSEY 3STEPDIVORCE TM - KEEPING YOUR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE SIMPLE
|This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of New Jersey. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in the New Jersey courts .
With 3StepDivorce TM you will complete and print your New Jersey divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your New Jersey divorce papers in a timely, professional, and hassle-free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: New Jersey
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in New Jersey.
How Does Online Divorce Work in New Jersey?
New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason (“grounds”) for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in New Jersey?
To get a divorce in New Jersey, one or both of the spouses must have been a resident for at least one year immediately before filing. The only exception is if adultery is the reason for the end of the marriage–then there’s no length of residency minimum. (N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-10 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New Jersey?
New Jersey allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. A no-fault divorce is one in which the court doesn’t require either spouse to prove that the other committed a bad act that caused the marriage to end. In a fault-based divorce, one or both of the spouses must show that the other’s actions caused the marriage to fail.
Most divorcing couples in New Jersey choose to file a no-fault divorce: No-fault divorces reach resolution much faster than fault-based because the spouses don’t have to argue about or prove who was responsible for the divorce. There are two no-fault grounds for divorce in New Jersey:
- Irreconcilable differences. The couple has irreconcilable differences that have caused the breakdown of the marriage for a period of at least six months. There is no reasonable prospect that the couple will reconcile.
- Separation. The couple has been living separate and apart for at least 18 consecutive months, and there’s no reasonable prospect that the couple will reconcile.
(N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-2 (2022).)
New Jersey also has fault-based grounds for divorce, such as adultery, desertion, and extreme cruelty. (N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-2 (2022).) The New Jersey fault-based grounds are used less frequently than the no-fault grounds, and require that the filing spouse prove the grounds for the divorce. Most people who use these grounds for divorce decide to hire a lawyer.
New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ currently provides services only for couples who are getting divorced based on irreconcilable differences.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in New Jersey?
Many New Jersey residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony, and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
We follow standard procedures for uncontested, DIY divorces based on the local process. Our service requires both parties to be cooperative and in full agreement. Therefore, our services use no-fault grounds (for example, "irreconcilable differences") and each party will waive certain procedural rights.
We cannot accommodate cases that involve: existing cases or support orders; domestic violence; restraining orders; contested issues; missing spouses; protected addresses; common law marriages; dissolution of registered domestic partnerships; pregnancy; temporary or retroactive support orders; lack of jurisdiction over the children under the UCCJEA; exclusive jurisdiction over the case by another court; third-party child custody or support; or children who are emancipated or otherwise not dependent on the parties. Some cases may require additional forms or filing requirements that are not provided by our service, including but not limited to cases involving: filing fee waivers; change in address; recipients of public assistance; division or transfers of retirement accounts; and multiple visitation plans.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in New Jersey If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, that means the child must have lived in New Jersey with a parent (or a parent figure) during the entire six-month period before you file for divorce (or since birth if the child is younger than six months old). (N.J. Stat. § 2A:34-65 (2022).) If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.
How Will My Online Divorce in New Jersey Deal With Child Support?
In New Jersey, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, New Jersey has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the New Jersey Child Support Guideline Worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will need to review and approve your agreement. New Jersey law requires that any time the amount of child support deviates from the guideline, the judge must find that applying the guideline would be “unjust or inappropriate” under the circumstances.
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in New Jersey is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. As a general rule, you’ll need to submit your agreement to a judge or child support agency.
The New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts has prepared an instruction pamphlet on how to modify a child support order. The instruction pamphlet includes fillable forms.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for New Jersey 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your New Jersey 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in New Jersey?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your New Jersey divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in New Jersey?
When you get your completed forms with New Jersey 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file your paperwork in the Family Division (also called the “Family Part”) of the Chancery Division in New Jersey superior court. You can’t file in just any superior court–you must file your divorce in the county in which the filing spouse (the “plaintiff”) lived at the time the cause of action arose. In other words, you must file in the county where the events that led to your getting a divorce occurred.
If the plaintiff spouse doesn’t live in New Jersey, then the divorce must be filed in the county where the non-filing spouse (the “defendant”) lived at the time the cause of action arose.
If neither spouse lived in New Jersey when the cause of action arose, the divorce must be filed in the county where the plaintiff lives when the divorce is filed. If the plaintiff doesn’t live in New Jersey, then the divorce must be filed in the county where the defendant lives when service of process is made. (N.J. Rules of Court R. 5:7-1 (2022).)
Figuring out which court to file in can be tricky. For further information and some good examples, see the Legal Services of New Jersey’s Divorce in New Jersey: A Self-Help Guide.
You can file your divorce in person or mail it in to the court clerk. No matter how you decide to file, it’s a good idea to call the clerk’s office to confirm that your filing method of choice will be accepted.
How Much Is New Jersey’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
The filing fee for divorce in New Jersey is $300. If you have minor children, you might have to pay an additional $25 parenting education fee.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you can ask the court to waive the fee. Read through the court’s instructions for filing a Certification/Petition/Application in Support of a Fee Waiver (the instructions include a fillable form). If the court grants your request, you won’t have to pay any court fees or costs for your divorce.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in New Jersey?
Unlike some states, New Jersey doesn’t have a “waiting period” between when you file your divorce and when the court can start processing it. This means that your uncontested divorce will be complete as soon as the court has capacity on its schedule to finalize it–usually six to eight weeks if everything goes smoothly.
How Can I Get More Help With New Jersey Online Divorce?
New Jersey 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, e-mail us at [email protected].
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about New Jersey law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.